Effect of Inter Faith marriages on the Church


#1

Ten percent of America is a lapsed Catholic. I find that figure staggering, and sad.

This is just my opinion, but I blame a lot of this on marriage issues. Marriages that have broken down, and placed Faithful in a difficult postion. Some left the for other Christian Churches, and some just quit going anywhere. This problem is hurting the Church and we need to reach out to our brothers to help fix their problems, and prevent them from happening in the first place.

The inter Faith marriage is here to stay. Heck, there are Catholics marrying non-Christians and when it doesn’t work out, the Catholic is left hanging.

Now I’m sure there will posts touting the success of their inter faith marriage. Thats good, and God Bless them, but the numbers don’t lie.

But we can’t blame our marriage issues on just the inter Faith marriage. Full Catholic marriages break up also, and when this happens we now have TWO Catholics on the outside looking in.

There are no easy solutions, but marriage problems have cause many good Catholics to lapse. :frowning:


#2

IMHO, the Church should revert to its prior canon law stance on mixed marriage.

Mixed marriage is a serious, serious issue.


#3

Even within the same religion, one spouse can be at a different point in his/her spiritual journey than the other spouse. There are many, many other issues that contribute to the sky-high divorce rate.


#4

My mother is Catholic and she married my father who was not anything…He believed in God, but just didn’t care.
To get their marriage validated within the Church, my father agreed to raise us (My siblings and I) as Catholics.

About 5 or so years ago, my mom’s hard work in the marriage paid off and my Father was baptized, and confirmed a Catholic.

Mixed marriages aren’t all bad.

But it was EXTREMELY hard for my mother to get things the way they are now.

Most people don’t have the strength to do that, though…

I tend to think that lapsed Catholics don’t just come from mixed marriages, they come from childhood.
They never grow up. They always see going to Mass as a pain, and they don’t listen to or understand their parents.
I have heard SO many people say “I was raised Catholic” but they aren’t anymore. Perhaps they think (or don’t think) its part of breaking free of restraints that bound them as children. They don’t truly understand the reason behind what they were doing.

I believe I’d be the same way if I weren’t homeschooled and therefore completely immersed in Catholicism.


#5

It certainly adds one more difficulty to something that is already not very easy.

For a culture that likes “the easy way,” it’s astounding how many roadblocks we place in our own way, that actually don’t need to be there.


#6

I agree about the multi-faith problem, I have a very good friend whose father is Lutheran and her mother is Catholic. The father won’t let any of the children go to Catholic school, they go to a Lutheran school that is very anti-Catholic. The mom succeeded in getting all of the kids into a Catholic school only for the father to yank them. The mother is only allowed to take her children to church sometimes, but every Sunday the children must attend a Lutheran service. The father is horrible to the mother. All the children pick up on this and they have little to no respect for their mother. There are now nine children my friend who is a Junior is the eldest, and she still has not received her first holy communion.
It is sad, the mother should have left ages ago when she realized that her children were going to be raised to hate the Catholic faith, before she had nine children. The father won’t even let the mother have Catholic friends, he is very rude to them and makes her break all her engagements with them. It is a bad situation. It is hard to be around my friend because all she does is talk bad about her mother, who is a really good woman.
When they married, the father was agnostic, but he was converted to the Lutheran faith and now he is shoving it down the throats of anyone around him.
It is sad.

I have an aunt who was abused and who finally left her husband after having five children. She won’t tell her children why she left their father, so they blame her and really dislike her because of it. They aren’t even allowed to see their father because of what he did to my aunt, and the children are really angry with their mother because of it.

In these two cases, in my opinion it is better for the women to separate from their husbands. The children benefit from being away from the bad influence of their fathers. But this is not normal I am sure. I am sure the abuse can’t be normal. At least I hope it is not.


#7

Bama, I just love your posts. You are obviously one very smart, thoughtful dude. Great sense of humor, too…

I think the larger cultural breakdown in marriage is affecting the Church and its members too. It is just so darn EASY for one person to declare the marriage over and take that to court and get their way. The spouse who doesn’t want the marriage to end has absolutely no power. What other legal contract do you know of where one side can say, “Yeah, I agreed to these terms, but I just don’t LIKE it anymore, so I want out!” and be backed up by the court?

A culture that treats divorce lightly also treats marriage lightly, and so we reap what we sow. I would like to see a return to fault divorce in this country. I think if people had to pay the price for their behavior in breaking up a marriage, they might take the whole thing more seriously.


#8

I have another friend my age, and his father just converted a year ago this past Easter. There are five children in that family and the father neither hindered nor participated in their Catholic faith, the mother raised all the kids to be very good Catholics and now the father converted. I wish all the stories were that way, but sadly they are not.:frowning:


#9

Not they are not.

If my numbers are correct, 2.5 million people in America are lapsed Catholics( 250 million x .10) and I wonder how many of that 2.5 million became that way from a marriage issue.


#10

Either their parents’, or their own. Don’t forget about the millions of children who are led by example to believe that ‘all religions are equal’ because no one has the courage to tell them that their non-Catholic parent isn’t in the same kind of relationship with God that they are, or that their Catholic parent is.


#11

My parents were devout Catholics who raised 3 kids the way most kids were raised in the 50s & 60s. My 2 brothers are ‘lapsed’ Catholics. Dad on his deathbed was worrying about their souls.

My aunt & uncle who lived next door, devout Catholics, raised 3 kids in the 40s & 50s. All 3 are lapsed Catholics.

My next door neighbours, both devout Catholics, raised 7 kids in the 50s & 60s – all are lapsed Catholics.

There is much more to this than the parents’ faith.


#12

First off, I agree that our culture and our civilization is, tragically, in decline. I don’t think, however, that this is entirely the fault of allowing interfaith marriages. There are a great many problems that flow from the tide of Moral Relativism that have eroded away the foundation of morality. (e.g., abortion, same-sex marriage, homosexual “rights”, etc.) This culture has given up on the Truth and pursued the “truth” specific to how the wind blows that day.

BTW, I am in an interfaith marriage (1st anniversary on June 9th)

And, btw, 10% of 250 million is 25 million. Makes the sad picture you painted even sadder.


#13

I don’t know though if some of this has to do with people not looking at their faith as the most important thing in their lives…they place it second or something, when ‘love’ walks in. I think if someone is truly a devout Catholic, he/she would want to marry someone who is at the very least, Catholic. Not necessarily devout, but at least Catholic. So, I don’t believe that devout Catholics marry non Catholics/non believers in hopes of leading that spouse to Catholicism (maybe, I’m sure it’s possible) but rather, that the person who is Catholic, doesn’t fully see the importance of marrying someone who is able to share in that faith, 100%. I think that is more of the problem–that many Catholics put ‘love’ of a person, above their own faith and values, and just think that somehow it will all work out in the end. I don’t negate the beauty of some of my friends who have married, and both are not Catholic, but once they had children…the landscape changed considerably.

I think if people are enamored with the Catholic faith, they will naturally want to find someone who is the same. But, I have heard the argument that spouses are to lead one another to heaven…but, I wonder the stat (if there is one) of spouses who converted through marriage.


#14

Quite a lot of it is just that teenagers don’t care. "I’m Catholic- I was baptized. But I don’t believe what the Church says on ____ and ____ " is common to hear out of a teen-Catholics mouth. Catholic High school-- the majority were lapsed. And for a while they stuck with saying they were Catholic, but didn’t believe. Then they went with just saying they weren’t religious. They’re just not religious-- it’s a chore to go to Mass, God doesn’t allowed homosexuals to love, abortions should be allowed some of the time, without birth-control we’d be overpopulated and all have STDs, and if we can’t try each other out before married how do we know we’re compatible? The Church is wrong, and outdated.

No doubt they keep these ideas until adulthood.

And while some people can’t handle an interfaith marriage, these same Catholics that would allow their own faith to lapse because of their spouse’s beliefs, or allow their children to stop caring, probably can’t be bothered with marrying a devout Catholic. I’ve found that those who are lapsed find the devout annoying. “Too Catholic” and such.

Yes, I quite understand how hard an interfaith relationship is, but there are many factors to the lapsed Catholic numbers. Pure lazyness or misunderstanding of the teachings seems to outnumber children who picked the non-Catholic parent’s faith. We don’t have an increase in devout Protestants who chose their other parents side, or devout any other faith. We have a decrease in Catholics who are just not listening and throwing off religion.

Now, people who are lukewarm in their faith need to study up. They have to look up the teachings, or go have a long chat with a priest or two.
There are people who can’t handle an interfaith relationship, this is true. But there are people who can’t handle any type of marriage. It shouldn’t be banned completely-- it would become a matter of forced conversions or leaving the Church, to some people. One does have to think about it, pray about it, discern this for a while and see if it can work-- like any other marriage or relationship.


#15

We have to be careful about cause and effect here: correlation does not imply causation (*cum hoc ergo propter hoc *). It’s just as likely that folks have become lukewarm about their faith due to whatever reason (secular media influence, pop culture, feminist theology), which then leads them to be far more likely to enter into mixed-faith marriages.


#16

I couldn’t quote all that you said because it was too long sorry.
I agree with you about the Lukewarm thing, Christ said to Sister Faustina (sp?)
“Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.”

I don’t agree that teens don’t care, I think it is just a lack of knowing what to care for.
My parent’s generation grew up between the 40’s and 70’s. Their parents put them in Catholic schools and forced them to go to Sunday mass, and to say a daily rosary, but they never taught them the whys and they never taught them to love the Church. So then when the hippie movement took hold, and no one knew anything about their faith, they either fell away, or followed the “I’m OK, you’re OK, it doesn’t matter what religion you are, I practice mine when I feel like it.” they followed that junk, because they had never been taught why the Catholic Church was the one true Church. Some of these people became anti-Catholic protestants and some others became the lukewarm Catholics that plague the Church today. Now those people are parents and their children know even less than they know. The children are only taught that there is a God and he loves you and whatever you do is OK. Well, kids naturally want rules, it makes us happy to have rules and limitations. When we are told that God gives us no limitations, that doesn’t feel right, people know that there are rules, they are written on every person’s soul, so there is a contradiction between what their parents say, and what they know in their heart to be true. This confusion leads to kids doing the sex, drugs, and alcohol.

Teens care, they just don’t know what to care about. Most priests don’t preach it, most Catholics don’t know it, teachers are so liberal that they teach against it, hardly anyone is there to guide teens to love their faith and to know what it means. So, they turn to the only path that everyone seems to be pushing them towards: the easy path to destruction.:frowning:
While inter-faith marriages may work for some like my one friend, I won’t marry any non-Catholic. I love how wonderful it is to have my two parents united on this very important issue, and I would want the same for my children if I ever have any.


#17

We can see on this very forum the number of difficulties people have in marriage when they do not share the faith with their spouse. Just look at some of the thread titles.

I am a single man. I would not even consider becoming involved with a woman who is not a committed Catholic.


#18

Entering into such a marriage myself quite soon, it’s very sad to read some of the stories and comments in this thread. Perhaps my marriage won’t be interfaith for long, as I am intending to take RCIA when it starts in September. God willing, hopefully the process will help my then-husband and I deepen our faith together. No matter what happens as far as whether I officially join the Catholic church or not, we will attend Mass together weekly as we do now.

Maybe we’re the exception to not have such difficulties that others have been describing?


#19

The first situation sounds like there’s a lot more to it than just a difference in faith - to me, it sounds abusive. I would hope that that is not normal for mixed marriages!


#20

As I’ve said before, I’ve been in an interfaith marriage for 32 years. DH has always supported me in any Church ministry I’ve committed to and he has helped me raise the children in the Catholic faith. He’s always accompanied us to church on special occasion but more than that he was in church with the kids when I had to be a reader or EMHC and he learned prayers he hadn’t known before, in a second language to boot, so he could be help the children with theirs if he was the one putting them to bed. A pastor we had when the kids were young thought DH WAS Catholic.

Lately he joined our parish choir and is at Mass every Sunday. When he suggested one Saturday that he should have planned to come to the anticipated Sunday Mass I expressed surprise and said “I thought you only went to Mass because you could sing with the choir?” His reply, “Sometimes you start doing something for one reason and then something else happens.”

Interfaith marriages can be successful. I’m Catholic, French, an introvert and into the theatre and arts in general; he’s United Church, English, an extrovert and into sports. This marriage shouldn’t have worked.


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